Monday, June 23, 2014

Dreams really do come true. Kind of **

I've always wanted to write for a satirical publication such as The Onion - I even did a few posts on this blog in that style, years ago.

Recently, I got the opportunity to do this for a new site called The Spudd, which caters to satirical health news.

Here's my piece that was published on Saturday.

Check out the website and comment with other health topics that deserve ridicule and parody!

**It's an unpaid gig for now, but it's still fun as hell!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Artist Seshu Kiran presents, "Ensemble of Sierra"



The art gallery at El Dorado Nature Center is hosting "Ensemble of Sierra,” a series of impressionist paintings by Seshu Kiran GS.

Seshu Kiran is known for making striking and brilliant pieces of art particularly large landscapes. They are born out of pure imagination and not photographic references. But for the setup and the nature of intricate details, he directly studies the subject matter or visits the place.
This series is born out of his visit to California's Sierra during last year's fall. Unlike most of his other paintings, this in particular is implemented with impressionist style.

Impressionism gave a way to 'vent-out' the inspiration in swift fashion with rapid brush strokes. This was justified because of the inherent imploding beauty of the Sierra's fall!

Some of the collectors of this series include famous American violinist Lindsey Sterling and LA Emmy winner musician Knox Summerour.


http://www.knoxsummerour.com/




The last few paintings of the series are shown at the gallery.

Apart from painting from his studio, he also paints live at events.
Seshu Kiran painting live-



 



www.twitter.com/art_kiran

"Ensemble of Sierra" opened on June 7th and will be up all month. Seshu Kiran can be reached any time using the contact info provided above. El Dorado Park Nature Center & Art Gallery is located at 7550 E Spring St.
Long Beach, CA 90815

Friday, May 30, 2014

Speak up



Word on the street is that I have a few new readers, so I wanted to give a shout out and an apology in advance, because really…I’m just so sorry. For everything.

For those of you who are still with me after years of this crap – of posting incessantly, then not at all for months at a time – for writing about labias and depression in the same breath – for posting half-cocked literature analysis assignments and obnoxious wedding planning details -  thank you for sticking around.

And also – you may want to seek professional help. 

I’ve always used Zippy as a place to vent. It’s therapeutic for me in a lot of ways, and the support I always get from all of you when I post about really difficult things, it’s just amazing how much it helps keep me off the ledge. Every. Single. Time. You’re supportive, you’re funny, you’re inspirational. Sometimes you’re a little bit mean (hi Trolls!) but that’s okay because so am I. 

 I know many of you in my real life and I’ve met many of you at blogging events or while travelling. But so many of you are complete strangers, and it never ceases to baffle me that ANY of you show up to read what I have to say.

Perhaps an even greater number of you are here by accident because you googled “I want 18” or “Kate Gosselin,” (by the way, why is ANYONE still googling Kate Gosselin? Oh yeah, because this) and I’m sure you’re responsible for my exceptionally high bounce rate. I’m sorry my blog isn’t entirely composed of barely legal porn, but really I’m not sorry because I get a sick satisfaction from wrecking your day. Not because I don’t approve of barely legal porn, because OF COURSE I DO, have you even met me? But because I know you’re sitting at your computer with a frustrated boner and something about that brings me joy.  

Two of you landed here from Ecuador today, and to you folks I say estás loco.

Last night, I got word from someone I know IRL that something I’ve written here was indirectly helpful to her. It was kind of a big deal, and it kind of meant a lot, and it got me thinking that maybe this whole blog thing happened back in 2008 (or 2006, if you count three posts and then silence as “starting”) for the purpose of helping this woman in 2014, and that is absolutely insane but wonderful to think might be so. 

I could take that even further and say that what happened to me (what I did to myself) that I wrote about in those posts that helped her – those events and periods of my life that are more than a decade in the rearview – maybe that stuff happened so that I could help her in 2014. 

That blows my fucking mind, ya’ll. 

And it just reinforces what I read and hear all the time on other blogs and media sources and treatment programs, and what I know from experience:

If you’re suffering from depression, addiction, co-dependency, self-harm, poverty, fear, insomnia, anxiety, eating disorders – IT DOES GET BETTER, I swear it does. 

If you are feeling lonely because of ANYTHING you’re going through right now, try to believe me when I promise that you are NOT alone. 

You aren’t the only one, and you’re going to get through it. 

It’s not a weakness to reach out and ask for help.

 It takes so much courage to ask for help, and you won’t be sorry that you did. 

My best advice is to tell someone, whether it’s a friend or a faceless mass of the internet community behind the mask of an anonymous blog. Just talk about it. 

I can tell you that writing about my shit? Has saved my life.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Party rockers: 63 Days on the wagon



I don’t dance. 

More specifically, I can’t dance. I’m the whitest human female alive, and my limbs seem to instinctively comply with that designation. Some women possess an inherent ability to bounce and grind their bodies seductively, but when I try to jiggle and/or bounce, it looks like someone hit me with a military grade taser: un-sexy and a little dangerous. In the bad way. 

I tried zumba once, but quickly discovered that my hips cannot move in any direction but forward, so I spent the hour looking like my head might wobble onto the floor while demonstrating that the cellulite on my ass can vibrate fast enough to sand a table.

Therefore, I abstain from dancing unless it’s absolutely necessary (see: both of my wedding receptions and a season premier episode of any of the Real Housewives franchises). The band may sound amazing, and they may be playing my favorite song, but my ass will remain planted in whatever bar stool I happen to occupy, and no, you cannot drag me with you onto the dance floor because I will cut you.

EXCEPT.

When I drink, I dance. And I won’t just dance, I will Capital Dee Dance! and the world will know it. I will hop on stage and dry hump the bass player while pursing my lips in a manner which resembles a duck. I will slide all over my girlfriend while Prince sings Pussy Control on the juke box and I butcher every word of the song with authority. I will proudly massacre the Harlem Shake as I insert some moves from the Electric Slide. I will be that girl who tries to drag other non-dancers onto the floor and, subsequently, I will get cut in the process.

Let me clarify that alcohol does nothing to improve my skills as a dancer. I only think it does. Or, rather, I stop thinking all together.

My sobriety happened to coincide with an increase in attending live music performances because Niles is a musician. I’ve seen him in a classic rock cover band at the Hollywood House of Blues and a second show at another place called Busby’s, in what he’s calling an “astro-punk” band at a bar called Loaded in Hollywood, and in a different rock cover band at The Blue Beet in Newport Beach. 

That? Is more nights out in six weeks than I’ve had in the last year combined.

Niles is also the proud papa of an indie pop-rock band for which he writes the music and lyrics, he plays in a country-rock cover band and writes some stuff for that one, and WHO THE HELL KNOWS WHAT ELSE. I’ve dated (and married) musicians before, but this is kind of different because it seems like every week I learn about another band he is actively playing/singing in, performing with or touring South America to promote.

Last Friday, we were planning a chill evening at home and I was already lying in bed with a book when he arrived home from work and announced he was playing a gig. That night.  

He was worried because he hadn’t been rehearsing much and it was a FOUR HOUR SET. 

I was worried because Dancing

Four hours is a lot of time to people-watch, and let me assure you that the following should be read in as loving and gentle a tone as possible:

You? 

Hi…yes, you*. 

Girl in the skinny jeans with the hoopy earrings bigger than a pregnant areola, holding one of the most clichéd cocktails and/or light beers in one hand, over your head, sidling alongside your posse of similarly outfitted friends, snapping the other finger at chin level and mouthing the incorrect lyrics to a song that was released before you were conceived, bending your knees at random intervals to give the illusion that your torso is not stationary.

You. Cannot. Dance.

Please stop trying. You’re hurting our eyes.

(*If you’re of Latin or African descent, most likely you can ignore the above.)

Hey, guy!

Yeah, the one in the ironic t-shirt you don’t understand, with the hopeful start of a mustache which will most likely not fill in the way you’d hoped, hopping around from foot to foot with no regard for rhythm, violently jerking your head like a rooster that is trying to peck out the eyes of your glassy-eyed friend in front of you, occasionally touching the upper buttock of the girl mentioned above, or, if the situation requires, holding that girl up by the waist so she doesn’t face plant into the spilled Captain-coke puddle, while yelling, “YOU’RE KILLING IT, MAN. KILLING IT,” and watching yourself in the mirrors behind the stage.

WHO THE FUCK TOLD YOU THAT WAS DANCING?

Seriously, you’re all doing it the same way and I can’t tell if you’re aware that you look like homosexual robots on cocaine. 

Also, stop combing your hair like that, it’s stupid.

At all of the shows I’ve attended recently, the only people who don’t fit the description above are the ones at or near retirement age, who still look like horny hippies and do a lot of spinning, but at least  they know the song lyrics and appear to have spacial awareness.

While observing on Friday, my hair was pulled twice by different people who then immediately ducked so that when I turned around, I could only see the tops of their heads and hear giggles. Several people tapped my shoulders and did the same disappearing trick. One guy in an extremely inappropriate plaid wood blazer walked right up to me, put his elbows in the air and began bumping my right hip with his left. No eye contact, no introduction, just the hip bumping. Then he walked away.

My favorite was the ginger guy in a white t-shirt with the aforementioned hopeful mustache starter kit who stopped in front of the mirror and began grooming himself while saying self-affirming things like, “You know it,” completely unconcerned with whether he was being observed. He smoothed out the baby mustache and gave his best come-hither smile, turning back and forth in the mirror to get a view of both sides of his face. He squared his shoulders and gave an approving nod, then turned to the side to check out his ass before walking away.

I may have peed my pants a little.

It was all baffling and hilarious, and I’m going to have to take better notes on what I see next time. That could be any time, really, when you live with a musician.

Hell, I might be at a show right now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Enabler: 55 Days sober

I remember walking in downtown LA once with my dad, which is weird because A) people usually run through downtown LA as fast as possible, and B) I think it's the only time I've ever been downtown LA because (according to my dad) it's dangerous and dirty and I don't need to buy fabric in bulk all that often.

The context of that childhood walk is lost forever to me, but I do remember we were approached by a beggar who asked us for spare change, and my dad said he didn't have any money, which was baffling because I knew for a fact that he had money. Children tend to keep tabs on their parents wallets, especially when spending time with the parent who was known to buy them things like hot dogs and bomb pops from the ice cream man.

As we continued walking away,  I asked my dad why he had lied, and he explained that he never gave money to homeless people because they would just use it to drink, and this confused me even more because I used his money to buy soda to drink, too, and while I knew my dad preferred RC Cola, I knew he wasn't *completely* against the occasional root beer, and I REALLY didn't understand why he cared which soda someone else drank, but I guess I could understand him wanting to save all his money to buy me things instead of sharing with strangers in downtown LA.

Eventually he explained that the man was homeless (and what that meant because it's baffling to a spoiled white kid) and he clarified that by "drink" he meant "drink alcohol" (which I already understood because my mother drank alcohol and her daddy died from drinking alcohol so I knew alcohol was a bad thing) and that homeless people generally begged for money so that they could buy alcohol to drink instead of beef jerky or Troll dolls.

My dad would be horrified to know that I've given coins and dollar bills to countless homeless men and women since that day, as well as value meals from McDonalds, dog food from Taco Bell, and other snacky things over the years. Once, I gave a man my portable camping pillow. I've given them water bottles and soda. As I sit here thinking, I'm realizing with horror that I also gave one a pint of vodka once. Dear god, what was I thinking? I was probably drunk myself at the time, but holy shit - what was I thinking?

I'm a sheltered idiot, that's what I'm thinking now - I've been largely oblivious to poverty and homelessness until recently (broke and living three people to a room are what the homeless consider "cute"), and I'm starting to realize just how naive I've been.

While many people suffer from crippling mental diseases, nearly ALL of the men and women who live without the protection of a dwelling do so because they are driven there by addiction to alcohol or drugs, and rather than working or begging for money to turn their lives around, their only reason for living is to feed their addiction.

Now that I'm recovering from alcoholism, I've had the honor of meeting some of these people. They are countless. The lucky ones are in hospitals like the one where I was held until I was no longer a threat to myself in January. Some are in rehabilitation centers, although it's very unusual because they don't have the means to pay for treatment or help, even the few who consciously want the help. A hell of a lot of them are in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, men and women who bounce from couch to couch, park bench to kiddie slide, the back seats of cars, the shrubbery down the block from the Alano club I attend.

Their stories vary greatly in the details, but if you zoom out to the bigger picture, they are the same as each other and, startling as it was to discover, the same as me. I am so fucking thankful that I didn't end up living on the street, giving blow jobs in exchange for money (if I was lucky) and receiving broken cheek bones (if I was not), because I can guarantee you that I was headed in that direction only 55 days ago.

Those stories are forever a part of my story now.

I still have so much to learn, as was evidenced by my baffling stupidity yesterday - I was asked by a homeless woman if I could spare any money, and instinctively I handed her two dollars. She smirked at me. No shit, an actual smirk. Then she entered the convenience store with the money, and as I drove out of the parking lot, she emerged with a pint in her hands (actually, it was already in her mouth), and I spent the rest of the day wanting to cry and trying to figure out if there was a way to punch myself in the face, because I just gave booze to an alcoholic. Epic stupidity.

What's done is done, and if I see her again I'll be handing her something less stupid. But seriously, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

This morning, I saw another homeless woman hanging out by the gas station when I went in to pay. This time I just bought an extra orange juice and handed it to her on my way out. Instead of smirking, she smiled and said thank you.

My god, I hope I didn't just hand her a mixer for her vodka.

Don't sleep

It's really early in the morning and I can't sleep right now because apparently I used up all my sleeping when I dozed off during American Hustle earlier. I know it won a bunch off awards and stuff, but can you really expect me to enjoy a movie in which Christian Bale's hair keeps trying to fly away, but his beer gut is stuck to the ceiling tile? Why can't Target photoshop the hell out of that mess?

Anyway, I'm no stranger to insomnia - usually I'd just get up and pound a six pack and watch CNN, but my sponsor says I'm not really supposed to drink myself to sleep anymore, and I haven't gotten a chance to install cable here yet, plus we broke the TV during the move. I'd watch something on my phone, but we also don't have wifi yet, and I haven't learned how to handle the whole BUFFERING! shit without slamming another six pack, so what I'm saying is that sobriety has ruined my ability to consume both alcohol and the internet.

On the up side, I found a copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened today in a thrift store. I've read it before, but then I had to return it to the library, so I never got a chance to mark it with my scent or mail it to the author for an autograph. I may have licked her face in New York City, but that doesn't mean she can't sign her book for me in Texas. Not because I collect books that were signed in Texas, but because that is where she lives. Unless she has moved since I was able to read her blog without the page taking so long to load that I gave up and took a selfie.

Something tells me that I'm starting to not make sense even more than usual and I should wrap this up, so I'm going to let someone else not make sense, which is to say I'm going to read the book again, and probably lick all the passages I'd just highlight in a normal book.

Texas-style crazy is contagious after midnight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LA County: 49 Days sober

Hi there, just checking in to assure you I'm still alive and crazy and sober.

A few (awesome!) things have shuffled around in the past couple of weeks, and I want to tell you ALL about them so you can groan and roll your eyes, but they're sort of chronological occurrences which need to be explained in the matching time/sequence order, and I'm presently without WiFi access which is making it really hard to blog and REALLY hard to download porn Netflix movies, plus I'm also sleeping on an air mattress which sounds like a bad thing, but really, it's like camping! every! day! in a giant marshmallow poof, which subsequently demands that I sleep even more than usual.

No seriously, it won't even let me get out of it's fluffy embrace until I'm brushed its hair.

I'm spending more time in LA County now (vs. Orange County previously) and my GOD - they are not similar at all. North OC was all, "We'll feed you Fu until you explode while wearing gloves and wearing sensible sneakers," and then you drive a few minutes south, and then it's all, "Que pasa way? I'm going to wash your car for $3 and if you say no, I'm going to do it anyway."

LA is all, "I'll suck your dick for a bottle of schnapps or anything that can be injected intravenously. No? Here, let me point a gun at your THE SIDEWAYS WAY because I ain't foolin," but when I drive a mile west, I'm at the beach and everyone is bobbing around on the waves by their giant breasts and people are running up and down stairs (presumably for exercise) and there's a personal trainer at the bottom shouting stuff about cellulite and being ready for the Red Carpet.

Previously, I had neighbors to talked to themselves, watered the lawn 18 times a day (but only for 45 seconds each time) and grew fruit trees.

Now I've got screaming neighbors who belong on Jerry Springer and a giant South African woman berating me for *existing* while holding a tiny bottle of vegetable oil in her hands, and in LA the number of homeless souls is either much, much higher, or the OC bums were better at camouflage.

I've also visited some new A.A. clubs, and the members are likewise different from their "spoiled" (love you guys!) southern counterparts. I think I saw my first Woman Strung Out On Heroin incident, and I know I met my first hermaphrodite.

It's safe to say that not only is LA County more "my cup of tea," - you know, as far as feeling at home among my kind - but it also promises to provide more writing material than I had before.

OH! And if anyone has recommendations for a good go-to beverage for this sober alcoholic, I'd be much obliged. I'm hooked on coffee, but it's kind of dehydrating me. Fruit juices are too filling, I'm getting really sick of pop, and water isn't *zazzy* enough to cut the mustard. Plus, I'm trying to cut out some of the sugar that's been sneaking in lately. Sun tea? Purified urine?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stunted: 42 days sober

Here, let me hand you a towel to wipe your face because it's covered in my brain matter, which is exploding all over the place every moment of every day lately. I'm sorry for the mess.

I met with Madame Helene today to check in and study Step 3. Funny, I'm totally willing to surrender my life and self-will over into the hands of a Deity-like creature, the existence of which I completely denied existed until just about 5 weeks ago. Acting on that willingness will be my challenge because it flies in the face of everything I've believed for so many years. Contrary action, they call it. Acting on faith. Should be an adventure.

During our conversation, Madame repeated something: We stopped growing up on the day we began our lethal dance with addiction. Our maturity was stunted by booze. Our emotional sobriety halted entirely.

This means I'm 17 years old. That can't be right. My ego wants to punch that idea in the vagina, because I like to boast that I'm a 60 year old in a (fill in the blank) year old's body. I'm older and wiser than my years. I fucking DRIP wisdom. It's squirting out of my pores, can't you feel it spraying you?

I can't run my own life, but here - let me tell you how you should run yours. I'm really good at it.

But wait, I'm here to learn, right? So let me pause for a moment. Let me consider the words of my sponsor.

I remember my first drink - it was given to me by Scott - and shortly after was my first "bad drunk" episode. He had a couple of friends over to his parents' house, and I believe a couple of my friends showed up as well, though I can't remember clearly.

I was standing in the garage and I was drinking a low ball full - FULL - of liquor. It may have been brandy. I was drunk, and the glass slipped from my hand and exploded on the concrete floor below. I remember slowly looking down at the shards of glass, and my next coherent memory was of being lifted from the garage floor by a few unrecognizable arms. I had collapsed face-first into the mess of broken glass and alcohol, completely unconscious for a few moments.

I was 17 years old then, and rather than recognize a sign of impending trouble, I chose to take that next drink, and the next. I stopped growing, and settled into a holding pattern of self-imposed hell.

Tonight at my second chip meeting, the shares seemed to be about several people's realization that they suffered from Peter Pan Syndrome, which is a metaphoric was of saying the same thing Madame Helene told me. When they began drinking, they stopped maturing.

Sure, they advanced their careers, or they got married, or they bought a house, or they graduated college. However, their selfishness and ego remained unchecked, the same riotous desires from their youth ruled their adult lives. They lived to please themselves, they stole and lied and manipulated others, just as they had done as teenagers when skirting their curfew or cheating on a biology test or stealing their best friend's girlfriend away.

At the age of 25, 30, 55, they continued to go to any lengths to drink/use/self-gratify, just as they had at the age of their first drink. Their stories confirmed my sponsor's words.

Still, I balked at the idea. I am different, CAN'T YOU SEE THAT?

Why am I different? I don't know, I just am.

Here - here's an example of how I'm not Peter Pan-y.

I've been a care-giver for most of my life. As a child, it was imposed upon me in absence of a stable parental figure. Later in my relationships with men, I voluntarily assumed the role of mother-figure because I'm selfless like that. Need your laundry folded? Don't worry, love, I'll take care of it. Just like I'll manage the finances and remind you to change the oil in your vehicle and chauffeur you around like a child. Let me iron your shirts and clean up your messes and prepare your taxes. LET ME TAKE CARE OF YOU. Because it's what I do.

But wait, at the same time I'm going to resent the fuck out of you for letting me take care of you. You're a grown man, why are you calling me when you can't find your socks? I'm sure it's no fault of my own. I'll tell you where to find your socks because I'm selfless like that. Then I'll hate you for it.

And holy shit, I just realized I really am 17 years old. I'll do anything to make you love me - I'll degrade myself and neglect myself and embarrass myself and inconvenience myself because I don't feel like I'm good enough for you. I'll play this little game and lay the trap, allow you to ease into dependence upon me, and then I'll start to play the victim.

Poor little put-upon Catherine! Do you see how they take advantage of me? Here, let me cry so you can feel sorry for me. So I can feel sorry for myself. Then let me get angry about it and tell my friends how awful these men are.

Let me be a 17 year old. I don't want to grow up. I don't want to change because that means I'll have to be accountable for my role in the events of my life and the dynamics of my relationships with other people. I'll have to believe in my inherent self-worth, and treat other people like adults.

I will have to be accountable for myself instead of blaming others. That is a scary prospect.

More scary, though, is the idea of flying back to my little Never Never Land full of pain, fear and oblivion.

I guess it's time for this little mother to grow the fuck up.